Jerusalem: In its efforts to curb fake news and violence-encouraging posts, Facebook has shut the official page of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party, a media report said.
According to Munir Jaghoub, spokesman of Fatah’s Mobilisation and Organisation commissariat, Facebook closed the account because of an historic photo of former Palestine president Yasser Arafat grasping a rifle, while standing alongside Fatah Vice Chairman Mahmoud al-Aloul, The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.
“Facebook closed the account and then sent us a message of that photo,” Jaghoub was quoted as saying.
He added that Facebook had sent three warning messages with attachments of other photos over the past several months. If Jaghoub is to be believed, the photo of Arafat and the other material published on the Fatah account did not constitute incitement. A review of the Fatah account’s history shows that it has published a number of posts and pictures that glorify violent acts against Israelis, the report noted.
On August 2 last year, Fatah posted a page bragging about the alleged number of Israelis Fatah has killed.
“To those who argue, to the ignorant, and to those who do not know historyÂ…Fatah has killed 11,000 Israelis,” the post read.
Jaghoub also said that Facebook has blocked the pages of the account’s 12 administrators for 30 days. Facebook deleted a second official Fatah account that had garnered 200,000 followers, 18 months ago. The deletion of the Fatah account comes as Facebook is undertaking a number of steps to crackdown on incitement. In November, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced new steps to counter fake news on the platform.
“We take misinformation seriously. We know people want accurate information. We’ve been working on this problem for a long time and we take this responsibility seriously,” the Facebook CEO had said.
Last year in June, Israeli cabinet ministers requested Facebook to delete inciting posts against the country as part of its struggle to quell a Palestinian uprising. Facebook said there was no place for content encouraging violence, direct threats, terror or hatred on its platform.